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South China Sea dispute should be resolved via dialogue: Argentine experts

(Xinhua)    13:27, July 20, 2015

BUENOS AIRES, July 19 -- The South China Sea dispute should be resolved through dialogue and consultation, and any unilateral appeal for a third-party arbitration will only complicate the issue, according to Argentine experts.

The experts made the remarks in recent interviews with Xinhua following a hearing in early July to decide if the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration has jurisdiction to hear the South China Sea territorial dispute involving China and the Philippines, and potentially some other Southeast Asian countries.

The hearing was instigated by the Philippines. A decision on whether the court has the authority to rule on the case is reportedly not expected until September.

Recently, China's Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has reiterated China's rejection of the Philippines' unilateral move.

"The Chinese government has repeatedly said it will not accept or participate in arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, in contempt of China's legitimate rights based on international law contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and its failure to comply with the agreement that has been repeatedly reaffirmed with China, as well as the Philippines' commitments to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," said Hua.

Hua is right, as "at issue is sovereignty over several isles and islands in the South China Sea, something that exceeds the (UNCLOS) and the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court," said Paola De Simone, an expert on International Law and graduate of the prestigious University of Buenos Aires, which helped shape all five of Argentina's Nobel laureates.

She said: "China's opposition and refusal to take part in the present arbitration is based on international law. You can't make a country submit to the wishes of another, which unilaterally makes use of third parties."

"Dialogue and consultation between countries must be the option," said De Simone, who has closely followed legal disputes between countries throughout her career.

"As a saying goes: listen to both sides and you shall see the light; listen to only one side and you shall remain in the dark," she said.

What's more, according to Hua, a declaration issued by China in accordance with the article 298 of the UNCLOS to the UN on Aug. 25, 2006 excludes "the resolution of disputes related to maritime borders through forced arbitration and other forced dispute resolution procedures."

Maria Soledad Martinozzi, an Argentine expert on international law, told Xinhua "The Hague isn't obligatory for China because the ratification declaration leaves out article 298 of the UNCLOS."

"All peaceful means of resolution require a prior agreement as a base (such as a treaty or accord) or the willingness to submit to a certain procedure, which China, in the case of The Hague, has rejected due to the commitments to resolve issues bilaterally," said Martinozzi.

"Taking a case to The Hague court can be very risky, in terms of the results it can generate and the global political issues that can come into play," said the professor of Public International Law.

Hua also said: "the origin and crucial point of the dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea consists of disagreements over territorial sovereignty sparked by the Philippines' illegal occupation of several islands and reefs in China's Nansha Islands starting in the 1970s, and the related problems on maritime rights and interests."

"China has always, in keeping with international law and based on respect for historical events, adhered and pledged to resolve disputes related to territorial sovereignty, and maritime rights and interests, through dialogue and consultation with the countries directly involved," Hua said.

Argentina's former ambassador to Thailand, Felipe Frydman, recently wrote an editorial that underscored China's stance over its sovereignty in the South China Sea.

"China's historic reasons are easy to understand," said Frydman, noting Chinese civilization has existed since ancient times and its domain extended over remote areas.

In addition, he said, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN)Declaration on the South China Sea signed in 1992 calls for resolving conflicts through dialogue and peaceful means.

A negotiated solution seems to be "the only way" to ensure peace, security and mutual benefits for the parties involved, he added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Qian,Bianji)

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